Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) tries to clear Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Zach Hyman (11) away from goalie Tuukka Rask during the first period of Game 7 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series, Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

BOSTON — Tuukka Rask made 32 saves as the Boston Bruins downed the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 on Tuesday to win their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal 4-3.

Sean Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom, with a goal and an assist each, and Marcus Johansson scored for Boston before Charlie Coyle and Patrice Bergeron both added empty-net goals.

John Tavares replied for Toronto. Frederik Andersen stopped 27-of-30 shots.

The Bruins have now defeated the Leafs in Game 7 in the opening round of the playoffs three of the last seven seasons, with each clincher coming at TD Garden.

Boston also took down Toronto 7-4 last spring, becoming the first team in NHL history to battle back from three deficits of at least one goal to win a Game 7 in regulation. That came five years after the Bruins’ 5-4 overtime victory in 2013 — the first time a team had won a Game 7 after trailing by three goals in the third period.

The crushing result for the Leafs means more heartbreak for a franchise that has failed to advance to the second round of the playoffs since 2004 and has not won the Stanley Cup since 1967.

The Bruins will now take on the Columbus Blue Jackets after the conference’s eighth seed swept the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round.

That alone makes Tuesday a bitter pill to swallow for the Leafs, with Tampa just one of a number of favourites to have already fallen by the wayside.

Toronto was Canada’s last hope of ending a 26-year Cup drought following the elimination of both the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets.

The series was a back-and-forth slugfest featuring razor-thin margins. Neither team managed to put together consecutive victories until the Bruins won 4-2 in Game 6 on Sunday to stave off elimination in Toronto before taking Tuesday’s winner-take-all showdown.

The Leafs actually started well enough after enduring an early Boston flurry. Rask stopped an Auston Matthews one-timer from the slot and two quick Mitch Marner shots off the rush before the roof caved in.

Toronto defenceman Travis Dermott turned the puck over on a clearing attempt and the puck eventually fell to Nordstrom, who squeezed his second of the series between Andersen’s glove and pad on the shortside with 5:31 left in the first as Boston’s fourth line struck.

RELATED: Leafs centre John Tavares ahead of Game 7: ‘We don’t want this thing to end’

Jake Gardiner — Dermott’s blue-line partner — then inexplicably played the puck off the boards behind his own net to no one in particular. It was quickly scooped up by Johansson, and he wheeled out in front before beating Andersen on a shot off the far post for his first with 2:14 remaining in the period.

Gardiner, who missed a chunk of the second half of the season with a back injury, was an ugly minus-5 in last spring’s Game 7 loss to Boston, falling on his sword and taking more than his share of the blame in an emotional exchange with reporters as the cameras rolled.

The Leafs responded well to open Tuesday’s second period, with Tyler Ennis separating John Moore from the puck along the boards and finding Tavares, who buried his second beyond Rask’s blocker at 3:54.

Toronto kept coming with a number of chances, but Rask denied Ennis and Trevor Moore from in close.

A Leafs power play that was just 3 for 14 coming into Game 7 got a chance midway through the period, but despite a wrinkle that saw Matthews and Marner switch sides, were unable to connect.

The Bruins came with a push to start the third period, and Kuraly made Toronto pay when stepped around Ron Hainsey in the neutral zone and beat Andersen with his first of the playoffs on a shot over his left shoulder that the Leafs goalie will want back at 2:40.

Toronto got its second power play five minutes into the third, but couldn’t do anything with the man advantage.

TD Garden then roared its approval as the minutes and seconds ticked down towards another Game 7 victory for the Bruins over their rivals before Coyle made it 4-1 into an empty net.

Notes: The Bruins improved to 15-12 in Game 7s, including 14-8 at home. The Leafs dropped to 12-12 (5-11 on the road). … Boston’s 15 victories in Game 7s gives the franchise the NHL’s all-time lead, passing Montreal (14-9) and Detroit (14-11). … Bruins captain defenceman Zdeno Chara played the 13th Game 7 of his career, tying Patrick Roy and Scott Stevens for the most all-time.

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Just Posted

Vikings played well this season, says coach

The double-A varsity football team from NVSS received ten northern conference All-Stars

William Griffin arrested in Houston homicide

RCMP have now arrested William Griffin, the man wanted in connection to… Continue reading

Vanderhoof resident questioning council over decision to be observers at water engagement roundtable

The Water Engagement Initiative was started by Rio Tinto earlier this year

B.C. municipality wants ALC to reconsider their decision in regard to pipeline work camp

The ALC had rejected the construction of the Coastal GasLink work camp behind the Vanderhoof airport in October

Icy conditions lead to multiple accidents on Highway 16

Several motor vehicle accidents have taken place since the start of November… Continue reading

Abortions rights advocates urge Liberals to turn politics into policy

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was pressed to clarify his stance abortion over several weeks

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

Most Read